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Andrea Mitchell Reports

News/Business. Interviews with political figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.

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Israel 44, Jerusalem 13, Washington 9, Joe Biden 7, United States 7, Obama 6, Andrea Mitchell 6, Lyrica 5, Cairo 5, Syria 5, Donna 4, Newtown 4, America 4, David Gregory 3, Dennis Ross 3, Jeffrey Goldberg 3, Hezbollah 3, Jeffrey 3, Warfarin 3, Bob 3,
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  MSNBC    Andrea Mitchell Reports    News/Business. Interviews with political  
   figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.  

    March 21, 2013
    10:00 - 11:00am PDT  

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all your important legal matters in just minutes.
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protect your family... and launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. right now, a special edition of "andrea mitchell reports" -- live from jerusalem. >> so long as there's a united states of america -- speaking foreign language. are you not alone. >> he had them at "shalom" says the israeli press. now president obama takes his charm offensive directly to the israeli people. in a major speech he delivered about the importance of israel and the importance of peace with the palestinians. the audience of students helped him deal with a heckler.
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>> oh no. >> this is part of the live lyre debate we talked about. this is good. >> i have to say we arranged for that, because it made me feel at home. >> you know i -- i wouldn't feel comfortable if i didn't have at least one heckler. >> the president used the forum to deliver another stern warning to the assad regime in syria next door. >> we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the syrian people or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists. the world is watching, we will hold you accountable. >> and he was cheered for his commitment on iran. >> america will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed iran.
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>> earlier in the west bank, president obama met with the palestinian president, mahmoud abbas. only hours after a stark reminder of the region's dangers as militants in gaza fired several rockets into southern israel. in ramallah today, the president also reversed course, no longer demanding that israel freeze settlements before peace talks resume on borders and israeli security. >> and that's not to say settlements are not important, it is to say that if we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved. so i don't want to put the cart before the horse. >> and "meet the press," why is our own chuck todd pushing his luck with the president? >> chuck, you're just incorrigible. >> we'll have more on that in a moment. during his speech today in jerusalem, that was the centerpiece of his trip, president obama spoke directly to the israeli public. restating his commitment to
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israel's security and making his case for peace with the palestinians. we have two very special gifts, donna weiss is the host of "meet the press" on israeli tv's channel 2 and our own david gregory, the moderator of nbc's "meet the press," the longest-running program on television. we have a theme here of "meet the press." david with your indulgence, let me ask donna first, but who this was received. how the speech has been received here in israel. it was a dual message, the message of commitment to security, but also you have to take chances on peace. >> first let me thank you for having me. it's great to be here. i think this was a new way to talk about the peace process, the two-state solution. it hasn't been tried before. you come into a room, you talk straight to the young generation, you don't use the old world. you don't talk about the green line, the '67 border. the right of return. jerusalem, nothing, that was out. it was a whole new approach, embracing the israelis, touching on every button from the famous,
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our version of "saturday night live," speaking in hebrew, talking about all our leaders, getting the israelis to feel good about themselves and asking why if you have such a prosperous way of life, why don't your neighbors deserve that? that's a new approach and i think it got the ears and the hearts of the israelis. no doubt this visit has been a success. will there be a follow-up? will the majority of israelis who don't go along with that narrative, listen and agree? we'll have to see. >> david gregory, you have watched this for so many years, your perception of how the president has done clearly the charm offensive has worked to smooth over the differences with prime minister netanyahu. but there is the big question that donna was just talking about, which is can we restart those peace talks with the palestinians? >> and i think that that latter point is very difficult as you know, andrea, from covering it day in and day out. the extent to which they have the stomach to get a peace process started. whether there is enough unity on the palestinian side to say
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nothing of the difficulties on the israeli side to get that going. but i go back to donna's point. what is it that has resonated about the trip. what was the real intent. we can break down the discussion of security or the other elements of the alliance. but what really struck me is that this is a president trying to reach into the souls of jews around the world. particularly israelis. by talking a lot about jewish peoplehood. if there was a correcting aspect of this trip, it was to settle the idea that the president believes that it's not just the holocaust that gives credence to the idea of israel. but it is a sense of jewish peoplehood. he spoke of moses today, he spoke of the joshua generation and what he really spoke about in terms of reinvigorating a peace process to a younger generation, was the essence of what it means to be jewish. which is to treat the stranger as yourself. to understand that you were once a strange anywhere the land of egypt. this is the message of passover. and it's no coincidence that the president talked about looking at this struggle through the
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eyes of the palestinians. this is really about appealing particularly to a younger generation's sense of their own peoplehood and their sense of mission in the world. and i agree with donna. i thought that was a completely different tack. and it's much more about how the president identifies with israelis on that kind of personal level. >> and david, i thought that the, the brilliance of this approach, this new approach, because it is so particular to barack obama, is that by his own acknowledgement, subtle acknowledgement here, he made mistakes in the first year of his presidency. going to cairo, not coming here. it wasn't just not coming here, but the message from cairo was there had to be a settlement freeze, that was a sine quannon. >> the palestinians after the ten-month freeze by the prime minister refused to come back to the talks, so there's a the
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although of blame to share. but he seemed to be using the african-american experience, talking about his daughters, the seder table. the joshua generation, used by african-americans to describe that generation of post civil rights era generation. to talk about that experience, related to the palestinians and appeal to young israelis, that's the broader message here. >> yes, i think we're a long way from cairo, you know. i think what president obama and his people and his staff understood that in israel, you have to touch the public opinion. and then the leaders especially been minimum n benjamin netanyahu will follow. this man walked back from lots of principles just to get the soldier back. netanyahu was very, very attuned to the public opinion. so i think they understood they have to grasp the young generation, the people of israel. i think president obama did that from the very first moment he stepped down in israel. you know he was off that plane, he took off his jacket, he was
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informal. he hugged every kid he saw on the way. he first he took netanyahu, he talked about you know his wife, his late brother. his kids. and today he took the israeli public. but you know, i'm not sure because i was listening to that speech and i was asking myself, was it the caring parent giving a pep talk to his adolescent child saying -- >> was it too paternalistic? >> no, in that sense, saying we'll always have your back, but you have to take your future in your hands. we're not going to be there to do that for you. this is your last wake-up call. or will there be steps to follow? this i'm not sure, because i mean it was mentioned that the american press, that this was a tour of tourist president coming to israel. i'm not sure if he was a tourist. but we're not sure he's going to take actions. >> well john kerry is going to follow up, the secretary of state, coming back here for din wer prime minister netanyahu. as a former two-term chief white house correspondent, david, you must have been identifying with
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our own chuck todd and how he tried to sneak in several questions. i wanted to play a little bit more of that wonderful exchange at the news conference last night. >> thank you, mr. president. mr. prime minister. mr. president, i want to follow up a little bit on the peace process. and mr. prime minister, i want to help out my colleague over here and then a question, another question i had for you. is why do you -- >> chuck, how many you got? you see how the young lady from channel 1, she had one question, she was very well behaved, chuck. >> i got one for you. >> these are muted questions. >> i get four questions. >> this is not a kosher question, but don't hog it. >> chuck, mine you're just incorrigible. >> so, so david, of course with the four questions, the centerpiece of the passover seder, there was a seder joke, a kosher joke, it was a borscht
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belt moment. >> and references to the talmud as well. you covered it all in that question. we've been in that situation, we've been in the situation at the white house, you do as much as you can and try to engage both leaders. the reality is this both leaders did engage on the question that chuck asked, were there failures in the first administration, what is it that both sides take away from this relationship. and to go back to the earlier point, too, that donna made, andrea. i don't envision that this administration, despite kerry's efforts that are forthcoming wants to engage in that sort of peace process in wrenching detail. that maybe seen as more clintonesque. we don't know if they're going to have that level of perseverance. there will be much more of a message to say to the israelis and palestinians, you've got to push this along yourselves for the sake of what's happening in the rest of the region. and that's the big question. i mean the demands, the security demands, be it syria or iran of
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course and then the impact of the arab spring. may become much more pressing concerns for this alliance than even the peace process. >> david gregory, thank you so much and donna weiss, such a pleasure having you here. >> "meet the press" we love jerusalem. meanwhile back at home, vice president biden and mayor bloomberg met with families from newtown to add emotional weight to their push for new gun laws, this despite the big setback in the senate for supporters of a ban on assault weapons, joining me now for our daily fix, chris cillizza, managing editor of post headline politics.com thanks very much for joining us, chris. well i think joe biden is trying to make the best of this but there's no way that you can sugar-coat what is happening in the senate. harry reid saying he won't bring it to the floor. the multiple magazines are part of the package. so maybe it can be raised as an
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amendment. but reid said it might not get more than 40 votes. >> i think it will be raised as an amendment. andrea. to your point, there aren't 60 votes for this. i think what joe biden is doing makes some level of sense. look, joe biden is the face, the public face or if not the secondary face to barack obama on what the white house is pushing in reaction to the tragedy in newtown. if joe biden said, yeah, the assault weapons ban, let's being honest, it's not going anywhere, i think it would have somewhat a chilling effect on the momentum and the push broadly to get something done. he is the public cheerleader, the cheerleader has to frankly cheer. he has to say, i think this is still possible. i think joe biden, look joe biden spent a long time in the senate. he knows in his heart of hearts, the assault weapons ban is almost certainly doomed. he doesn't want to jeopardize the other pieces, high-capacity magazines. maybe broaden background check. universal background checks.
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he wants to keep those in play. i think that's why you're seeing him sort of put a brave face on. >> and i want you to play a little bit of the sound of that joint appearance by mike bloomberg and joe biden today on guns. >> even though restrictions on military-style weapons will not be part of the bill that goes to the floor of the u.s. senate, it will get a vote by the full senate as an amendment to the bill. and everyone is going to have to stand up and say yea or nay and we have to decide how we feel about people and their stands. >> for all of those who say we shouldn't or couldn't ban high-capacity magazines. i ask them one question. think about newtown. think about newtown. >> so chris cillizza, we now have progress on the budget on capitol hill, some breakdown, getting past the breakdowns, the
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continuing resolution. fill me in, i think it passed today. did it pass the house? >> you are correct. and amazing, the ryan budget and the continuing resolution passed so what we thought about in terms of the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of this month, now averted, which i would just add, a hint of pessimism with the optimism. that almost certainly means we're headed to a very big fight over the debt ceiling late they are spring, into the early summer. >> but tucked away in that continuing resolution are some hidden items on guns. making permanent some of the restrictions on the federal government's ability to regulate guns. they're not the major ones, but they were tucked away in there. when people aren't looking at the continuing president, the nra is still holding sway. >> well and andrea, you know, in the wake of newtown, i think we all grappled with the possibility that the politics surrounding gun control had been fundamentally changed. i would say what's happened in the months since then, stripping
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the assault weapons ban out, skepticism about background checks and high-capacity magazines, suggests that newtown may have changed things for a time, but it's possible it did not change broadly how the public thinks about gun rights, gun restrictions, you know, and et cetera. >> chris cillizza, thank you very much, see you later. and meanwhile, speaking of guns in colorado, the manhunt continues and widens for the unidentified gunman who murdered state department of corrections director on his doorstep. police have expanded the investigation to include any leads from clement's prior role in the corrections system as well as anyone who might be targeting his wife, a colorado state mental health official. clementant's death comes as colorado was placing new gun control legislation into law, signed yesterday. the red line on iran, as
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prime minister netanyahu on the same page as the president? we'll ask a top israeli official coming up next. and ha did the palestinians think of their visit with the president? all of that to come ahead here on "andrea mitchell reports" live from jerusalem. [ male announcer ] if you stash tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air. i took something for my sinuses, but i still have this cough. [ male announcer ] a lot of sinus products don't treat cough. they don't? [ male announcer ] nope,
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when i consider israel's security, i also think about a people who have a living memory of the holocaust. faced with the prospect of a nuclear-armed iranian government that has called for israel's destruction. it's no wonder israelis view this as an ex-stensial threat.
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it's a danger for the entire world including the united states. >> and joining me now here in jerusalem is mark regev, the official spokesman for israel's prime minister, benjamin netenyahu. your reaction to the speech today, the center spooes really of the trip for the president. >> a few minutes ago, my prime minister, benjamin netenyahu put out a statement praising the speech. he welcomed the president's unequivocal support for our country, for israel and for the american/israel relationship. he welcomed the president's call for two states for two peoples and trying to get the peace process back on track. and of course, we very much liked the praise he had for our country. the ingenuity, the start-ups, the technology, all the things that makes israel so vibrant. >> which he in fact saw firsthand with the prime minister today. at the high-tech display, he was fascinated by that. his commitment to iran, however.
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are you now on the same timeline? there was some confusion after the news conference last night as to whether, when the prime minister said he accepts the timeline of a year to weaponize, but he still has to have concerns, as do all israelis, about the enrichment process, which continues unabated. >> i think we are very, very close, washington and jerusalem how we see iran. the differences are minute. we are the little bit much more anxious, which is perfectly understandable. the most important thing for us is we've got to stop the enrichment program there in iran. because enrichment is the fuel for a nuclear weapon. and we've got to make sure that the iranians don't continue on enriching uranium. >> the prime minister has said that diplomacy and sanctions have not worked to stop the enrichment, to stop the process. has the president persuaded the
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prime minister that he's not bluffing? that you're close enough on the timeline, that obviously a military option is there, and it would be a lot easier to accomplish with joint action or american support for israeli action. so when the prime minister has told the general assembly last fall that spring was the deadline, the red line and he held up that famous -- cartoon -- >> i was there. >> and you were there, have we now pushed it past the spring? >> the timing of this is a function of what iranians are doing. and we're watching very, very closely what they're doing. and the sad fact is, despite all the international pressure, despite the economic pressure, the sanctions, despite the diplomatic pressure, they continue to enrich. in fact they've upgraded their enrichment capabilities, they're enriching today, much quicker, much faster than they were this time last year. so the situation is very dangerous. my prime minister believes very sincerely that we have to augment the diplomatic and the
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economic pressure with military pressure. and the iranians have to understand, the iranian leadership has to understand that one way or another, the international community is simply not going to allow them to get a nuclear weapon. and if they understand that message, if we see the diplomatic process, the economic pressure augmented by military pressure, maybe diplomacy will succeed. >> the israeli people and prime ministers past and current have really loved previous american presidents. there was no love for barack obama. that was very clear. among israelis. and a lot of argument over the cairo speech, over his not coming here, over his call for a settlement freeze. so whoever got off on the wrong foot, the relationship between the prime minister and the president was not a good one. does a visit like this, the charm offensive or operations desert schmooze, as jeff goldberg called it in "the atlantic." taking off their jackets, dinner at the house, talking about his family, does all of this work to warm things up? >> i think i have to say what needs to be said.
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is that israel and the united states are so close, such good intimate friends, that whenever you have a disagreement, it becomes front-page news, it really is blown out of proportion. i think the president said last week in washington, he said that he and prime minister netenyahu have a good, i think he said a terrific business relationship. and as far as the israeli people are concerned, you've seen, i've seen, how the israeli people have welcomed the president, have shown respect, have shown warmth and have shown appreciation as my prime minister said, we have no better friend than the united states of america. we know that. and under president obama, cooperation between israel and the united states, military cooperation, defense cooperation, intelligence cooperation, all that has reached an unprecedented level. and we're grateful. and we really see the president and of course the united states as our closest and most dearest friend in the world. >> mark regev, thank you so much, good to see you again. thanks for getting through the traffic. i don't know how you managed to
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do it traffic, the motorcades in the old city of jerusalem, a nightmare. and up next, has anything changed in congress since maine's senator olympia snowe left capitol hill? we'll ask her next on "andrea mitchell reports" live from jerusalem. the carful? how about...by the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. campbell's. but that doesn't mean i don't want to make money.stor. i love making money. i try to be smart with my investments. i also try to keep my costs down. what's your plan? ishares. low cost and tax efficient. find out why nine out of ten large professional investors choose ishares for their etfs. ishares by blackrock. call 1-800-ishares for a prospectus which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. read and consider it carefully before investing. risk includes possible loss of principal.
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but there still is no sign of agreement on the big issues, the major hurdles, entitlement cuts and tax increases, joining me now former senator olympia snowe who left the senate partly because of the gridlock. the continuing resolution, only days to go. that takes us through to september. we still don't have budgets. what are you seeing from your perch now outside of this bubble, as you try to work on how to bring the two sides
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together? >> well, at least they're attempting to work together. and most notably, on having consideration of a senate budget resolution for the first time in more than three years. so you know, this is movement in the right direction. but as you indicated. there's no suggestion at this point that they can reach the broader compromise on the big issues. and that's what congress has deferred over the last few years, the big issues that would give certainty and confidence to the american people. and to businesses. and in which direction the country will proceed on the biggest questions that will affect their futures. whether it's in the tax realm or regulatory arena. and of course, on the whole question of entitlement reform and reducing the debt. >> i want to ask you also about the assault weapon ban, your former colleague, dianne feinstein, deeply disappointed that harry reid said there
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aren't the votes and he's going to strip it out of whatever legislation does get to the floor. because he thinks otherwise he wouldn't be able to pass anything. i know you voted to re-authorize the assault weapons ban back in 2004. so now what? do you think that the emotion and the reaction to newtown, connecticut, has now faded? >> well, i wouldn't think so. i think what's at stake here are people's positions that they've already taken on these issues. and how it affects their states. and so it's, it's less a partisan divide than rather it could be a regional divide or a policy issue of this, of this magnitude. so i think that obviously the senate has the option of considering an amendment. if they allow open amendment process on this issue. so that people can weigh in and express their views. >> senator now that you've left
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the senate, life after the senate, do you have a different perspective on what has been happening in washington and how gridlocked things have become? >> well you know, andrea, i'm so pleased to join the bipartisan policy center. because it is, a can-do operation and we just launched a national conversation on american unity. there will be one of four summits across this country. along with a former majority leader senator daschle, and secretary glikman and secretary kempthorn, and so many other leaders to have a national conversation. we held a town meeting at the reagan library. what's unique about this approach is inviting the public to engage in the process, to offer their views and perspectives and ultimately the center will be the catalyst for making recommendations, ones that are based on the input from
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people all across america. people are frustrated, and deeply concerned about the gridlock that has paralyzed washington and its ability to address fundamental issues that obviously require our attention as a country. so we, i'm very pleased to be part of this effort. because it's not only a bipartisan basis, but it brings in people from all over the country to work on these issues. and i think it is important that we give impetus to the frustrations that people have. and what we can do to change it. >> senator olympia snowe, thank you so much, we look forward to a continuing conversation. and we'll be right back from jerusalem and washington, stay with us, it's "andrea mitchell reports."
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iran's ayatollah khamenei is vowing to raze israeli cities to the ground. a direct reference to israel's previous threats of military action unless iran abandons its nuclear program. roanen bergmann is a contributor to "the new york times" magazine and the author of "the secret war with iran." roanen, great to see you again. first of all, the timelines, did this visit accomplish anything in bringing the president and prime minister netenyahu any closer together on when they see that window of vulnerability and when they believe that iran would have to face threat of military action? >> i'm afraid not. i think as far as i know, what happened in the closed forums and the secret meetings, there is a consensus on the fact due to the past five years of quote striptease of both intelligence communities, one towards the other. complete sharing, intimate lodge of everything they knew and in
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operations, vis-a-vis iran, there's a consensus on the timeline. the timeline is one year until iran has the technological ability to make a breakthrough, cross the threshold point and being able to produce enough material for one bomb or something of that kind. there's still the main question, what to do during this time. and the debate divides into two parts, first, netenyahu, the israeli intelligence community believes that by harshing and imposing harsher sanctions on iran, the world can topple the iranian regime in less than half a year. if the united states moves to act on a different scale of sanctions and on that, that sense, there's netenyahu believes that the united states or if israel, the united states doesn't do it, should take military action if the iranians do not abandon their nuclear program within a year. >> the other threat that the president has been speaking about is syria. i am told that u.s. intelligence has advised congress that the
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assad regime has in essence, locked and loaded those chemical weapons, that they are prepositioned, ready to use, that we have intelligence that they have the intent to use them against their own people. it's obviously also a threat to israel. so close by. what does israel want to hear from the united states? what more does israel want to hear on chemical weapons? >> based on the same intelligence that was received both by the united states and israel, mossed and military intelligence believe that assad will use chemical weapons if aleppo is toppled and taken by rebels. now israel wants an american complete support if israel attacks any sort of more convoys coming from our shipment of arms and nuclear arsenal, from syria to hezbollah. the question will come, what will happen the day after. they are fears in israel that either hezbollah or an agent of
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al qaeda will try to confiscate the storage of nuclear, chemical arsenal, in the case of these few hours when the regime actually falls. and in that case, israel is considered to have a ground assault into the specific locations of these bunkers. >> to secure the chemical weapons. >> to secure them. and that might i would say that might come in a contradiction with american interests. that would try to form or to support the rebels, without intervening militarily on the ground. and i think that israel wants to be sure that the united states completely approved the israeli point of view that the first priority would be to prevent either hezbollah or al qaeda forces to get hold of the strategic weapons, strategic weapon are the scud missiles and the chemical arsenal. >> from what i'm hearing from american officials, the u.s. might take that action unilaterally on its own. or at least green-light the israeli action because it is an
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absolute red line with the president. so it seems as though on that they are much, much closer. >> we're going to have to leave it there but always good to see you, ronen bergmann. >> good to see you in israel. >> excellent to be here. and joining me now from washington, washington bureau chief for al arabiya. i want to ask you about the visit to ramallah and the west bank, the president reversing himself on what he had committed to in cairo on a freeze on the settlements prior to any engagement on the peace talks. and this certainly has put abu mazen, mahmoud abbas, the president of the palestinians on the spot. there's some indications that he's willing to bend or yield a wink and a nod. what are you hearing? >> well, i think, let me say in general that this trip is not to make peace between the israelis and the palestinians. the president wanted first to make peace with the prime minister, netenyahu or at least
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reach a truce with him. and then build a bridge directly to the israeli people. keep in mind, andrea that netenyahu comes to washington, he goes to the congress. and talks to the american people directly over the heads of the american president. barack obama essentially did it today, and he spoke to the israelis, he was very compassionate, he was very warm. he told them how much he loved israel and its history and jewish identity and all that he said the right things to the israeli people. on the part that has to do with the palestinians and peace process, whether in ramallah or in israel, i think he made a very eloquent compassionate rational case for peace. probably more eloquently and more powerful than any american president in any israeli prime minister or anybody in the region. so in that sense, it was an historic speech. unless, and the question now is, before he went there, if you remember, american officials and he himself said we are not going to raise the expectations. now the speech itself, whether by design or by fault, is going to raise the expectations.
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and unless the president follows this very eloquent speech by resorting to robust efforts led by him, not by john kerry only, but by him to revive the peace process, this great speech will look like another outburst of eloquence. nothing more. now on the palestinians, they realize that they may have a short window. the first six months or first year of the second term of this president, to move the peace process further. they know that they have to deal with obama for next four years and they know they have to deal with netenyahu for the next two or three years, assuming that the israeli government will remain for the rest of its duration. and, and that may explain the hints that the palestinians may walk back from their position that there has to be a public announcement of a freeze on settlements before they go back to negotiations. they don't, they cannot afford to alienate obama again. it's true that obama had a better relationship with obama.
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so this is a palestinian's chance to go back to the peace process, without alienating obama and give the president and give themselves another chance. >> we're going to have to leave it there, to be continued, thank you very much. good to see you. and up next here, the "atlantic"'s jeffrey goldberg and president obama's former adviser on iran, as well as george bush's dennis ross. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports." [ male announcer ] this is bob,
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it's delicious. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. [ robert ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to legalzoom.com today and make your business dream a reality. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. in hits speech today in jerusalem, president obama restated his pledge to defend israel. but he also appealed to israel's young people. to support the peace process. the peace with the palestinians, because he said it is in israel's interest. >> the only way to truly protect the israeli people over the long-term is through the absence of war. because no wall is high enough
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and no iron dome is strong enough or perfect enough to stop every enemy that is intent on doing so from inflicting harm. >> the "atlantic"'s jeffrey goldberg is here with me, traveling with the president and he was in the audience for the president's speech. and joining us from chicago, ambassador dennis ross, who is a long-time lead middle east negotiator in both republican and democratic administrations and a former obama adviser as well. so clinton bush and obama, all of the above. first of all to you, jeffrey, your reaction to the speech today. you were there in the hall, the feeling from the young people. admittedly, more supportive of obama perhaps than the overall israeli public. >> maybe, but i mean many university students do lean right. most amazing thing about it for me was a huge ovation when president obama called for the creation of a palestinian state in different iterations and i was thinking when i was in
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there, if he had given that speak at an apec convention in washington, he might have been booed. i'm trying to imagine what arab audiences across the muslim world were thinking when they saw israelis cheer obama for calling, for palestinian state. it was kind of a brief moment of possibility there. >> and dennis, you spent so many years trying to make this happen, do you think in retrospect, that the administration got off on the wrong foot with prime minister netenyahu, the cairo speech, not following it up perhaps and calling for the settlement freeze in year one of the obama administration? >> well it's always easy to look back and look at what you might have done as opposed to what you did do. i think there's no doubt that clearly, the efforts that were made in the first year of the administration didn't work out. and what you see now is the president doing something that wasn't done then and that's to reach out to the israeli public. demonstrate that he gets their predicament. demonstrate that he understands the context of circumstances,
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the environment they live in. demonstrate that he gets their fears. but also reach out at the same point and say, there is a way, given everything that israel does, given israel's capacity in fact to do things there is a way to still work for peace and there's a reason to try to do so. >> jeffrey here, coined the phrase, operation desert schmooze for this trip. i've been using it all day. it's been picked up everywhere, jeffrey. how far -- >> at least i can contribute something to the middle east debate. >> how far can you get with schmooze alone? >> this is the question. the acid test comes not right now, tomorrow he'll lay a wreath at hertzle's grave, the founder of zionism. he's doing all the things that one would have to do to gain the trust of the israeli people. the test comes when a month from now, the netanyahu government announces it's going to be building more apartments in some contested land on the west bank. and so i don't understand how
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the, a better relationship is going to actually affect that on a policy level. maybe they'll communicate maybe they'll communicate better. but they are still, they're in different camps on this question. as they are to some degree on the iran question. choosing is nice but it doesn't get you peace. >> and janice, in contrast to the situation when you first started engaging in this process, israel is more encircled and endangered than ever before. the effect of the arab spring is that on the borders of israel, you've got uncertainty and danger in egypt and certainly in syria. what is your prognosis now for how israel and can cope with the threats on the border, particularly the threat of chemical weapons being used, as we were just discussing by the assad regime against the israeli people. >> i think there's no doubt what you're saying. israel faces a reality that is
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dramatically more uncertain really than any than it has ever faced. in some ways, the environment that israel faces now is even more daunting than any since 1948. i think at one level when you look at chemical weapons fauss into the wrong hands, there is no doubt that either the jihadis may get it, israel will act quickly or we will act very quickly. i expect this is one of those issues where our contingency planning with the israelis is probably at a very high state and i suspect this is something that we will coordinate very closely on. >> and one of the things the president was doing today was not only praising israeli progress, science, technology, the economy, but going with the president of israel and the prime minister to see a high-tech demonstration. one of which was a robot actually serving matzoh. so there were all sorts of
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demonstrations on medical advances. israel really has exploded with technology and science here and what the president was trying to say to the young people is, this is a model for the region. now make your democracy work by not being an occupying forceful. >> i thought that was one of the most effective parts of the president's speech. to say, take essentially, take all this negative energy and turn this into something positive. that israel is an economic hub. the palestinians are among the most educated populations in the worldful there is great potential here if these two opposing sides would actually work together. that's why he has been stressing economic development as a possibility. >> now a $40 billion a year mutual trade relationship that dennis ross helped nurture along. thank you, dennis, and i should say nbc middle east adviser in chicago, jeffrey goldberg here. we'll be right back. no. there was that fuzzy stuff on the gouda. [ both ] ugh! when it came to our plants...
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that does it for this special edition of "andrea mitchell reports" from jerusalem. you're watching live pictures of president obama's motorcade arriving at the state dinner at president peres's house. follow the show online and on twitter. with many thanks to our wonderful team here in jerusalem, craig melvin has a look at what's next. >> hey there. we'll have reaction to president obama's message in the middle east urging israelis while urging those in the west bank to return to the peace talks. we'll see how the two messages are being received abroad and here at home. plus, polar opposites from the federal budget to same sex marriage. even gun control. why is it that some members of congress and the american public appear to be on two different pages when it comes to hot button issues. a look at that and a lot more coming up next on "news nation." enough of just covering up my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough.
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